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>> john and jonathan, we wish for you all life's blessings and insomuch as you have consented to be united in the bonds of t matrimony and you have exchanged your wedding vows in front of all those present, therefore by the powers vested in me by the state of new york, i pronounce you both married. [ cheers and applause ] tonight on "cnn presents" -- don't teach, don't tell. a school district at war over homosexuality. >> he came to me and said, mom, a kid at school said i was going to go to hell because i'm gay. >> "into the wild." animals ripped from the wilderness where they belong. >> we were just about 20 feet away from the giant -- >> a journey to a place where one woman's passion is keeping wild animals wild.
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but first, long island's serial killer. >> that's how we know that we're dealing with a monster. a hannibal lecter. >> mysterious murders. and murders. >> four of the victims were found in a burlap-type material. >> kaj larsen traces the trail of a serial killer still on the loose. this is babylon, long island, an hour's drive away from manhattan, and it is known for beautiful million dollar homes and secluded beaches. but that same isolation that people come here to seek, as of late, has been masking a darker element. in december, police in long island make a shocking discovery. >> i don't think it's a coincidence that four bodies ended up in this area.
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>> for the past couple of years, women kept disappearing on long island. now, police think they may know why. >> we could have a serial killer. >> we are dealing with a psychotic murderer. >> police still don't have answers, so we tried to get to the bottom of this eerie mystery. >> where do we go now, gus? >> coletti, a man neighbors call the unofficial mayor of this community, shows me around. >> that's the house. that's where it all began. >> reporter: he tells me about a night last may that brought an unbelievable mystery to his doorstep. >> she showed up at my door. and she was banging on the door screaming "help me, help me, help me." i opened the door and she stepped in. and she just stood there yelling "help me." he later learned the woman was 23-year-old shannon gilbert.
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>> i picked the phone up and started to call 911 and she bolted out the door. a car was coming down the road, slowing, stopping, slowing stopped and i asked what they were doing. he said they had a party and she got upset and left. he was looking to find her to bring her back to the party and he took after her. >> in the car? >> in the car. and that was the last time i saw her. >> reporter: coletti says he waited 45 minutes for the police. by the time they arrived, shannon gilbert had vanished. when police came back later, they questioned the driver would took off after her. the driver told him he brought shannon from the city out to long island. police also questioned the man who was throwing the party that shannon attended. that was joseph brewer, who did not return our phone calls to speak with us
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about this story. police told coletti gilbert wasn't just a party guest at brewer's house. >> brewer's the one that hired this young lady to come out here. >> shannon gilbert was an escort who posted ads on craigslist. because of her work astin escort, shannon's sisters often worried about her. why did you guys come all the way down here? >> because my sister disappeared. >> when did you first know that your sister had gone missing? >> we first found out that sunday. her boyfriend called me and said that she hadn't come home in two days. >> did you have any thoughts then? >> honestly, you know, i just thought maybe she found some friends, partied for two days and then she was going to come home. but then when we looked through her sprint account and figured her last calls were to 911, it kind of changed our whole perspective of what became of her. >> reporter: shannon's phone records showed she was on the phone with police for 23 long minutes before she showed up at coletti's door for help. >> they didn't feel that they were being taken
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seriously or being helped and they were very distraught. >> reporter: gilbert's family started working with dottie lassiter and a a team of private investigators to find shannon. laster and her team have been digging into the case for months. they're especially concerned about that 911 call. >> she was in danger. she has not come back. she has not called anyone. >> reporter: so what did you do? >> we pretty much from there tried to do our own investigation, made up flyers, went door to door. ashley found a piece of her jewelry. >> reporter: in searching near brewer's house, they say they turned up something police had overlooked. >> the police had been there and searched it before the sisters went there, but when the sisters went, they said they found her earring on the front porch. so now they're more frantic. now they're more frustrated. >> reporter: they got even more frustrated when they were left without suspects. >> i feel sorry for them. >> reporter: police ruled brewer and the driver out as suspects. so the family began
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working with investigators to piece together any clues from her life before she disappeared. >> this is actually shannon's signature. >> reporter: we went back to visit shannon's sister sara in the economically depressed region of upstate new york where they grew up. her sister says right before she disappeared, shannon was trying to get out of escort work. >> she was taking online classes, trying to stray away but it's hard. we all grew up below poverty, you know? >> she liked to dress up, she liked to have a good time, she liked to party. >> yes. >> was she like that in high school too? >> no. she was very quiet. she was like the bookworm. >> reporter: this is shannon gilbert's middle school. she started in the eighth grade production of "annie" here. and like so many small town girl, heed dreams of bright lights and big cities, but what she found was that the reality when she got there is it wasn't nearly as glamorous as she envisioned. when she couldn't pay the rent, she found work with an escort agency. easy money paid the bills, but
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ultimately made her life harder. after only a short time as an escort, her family says she had an arrest record and a drug habit. i've watched and you guys are very close. were you close like shannon like that as well? >> yeah, we were close. if one of us went missing, i'm sure my sister now would do the same thing we're doing to try to find her. >> the family kept urging the please search, to please take the dogs and it was about to get cold. >> reporter: when police finally took search dogs out to look for shannon gilbert months after she disappeared, they made a shocking discovery. >> missing persons unit called us out on saturday to follow up on an investigation on a missing person. i saw the skeletal remains of a body. >> reporter: over the next couple of days, police would find three more sets of remains. coming up, the search for shannon and the chilling
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possibility that a serial killer is on the loose. [ male announcer ] the network -- a network of possibilities. in here, the planned combination of at&t and t-mobile would deliver our next generation mobile broadband experience to 55 million more americans, many in small towns and rural communities, giving them a new choice. we'll deliver better service, with thousands of new cell sites... for greater access to all the things you want, whenever you want them. it's the at&t network... and what's possible in here is almost impossible to say. a farewell long awaited. goodnight, stuffy. goodnight, outdated. goodnight old luxury and all of your wares. goodnight bygones everywhere. [ engine turns over ] good morning, illumination. good morning, innovation. good morning unequaled inspiration. [ male announcer ] the audi a8, chosen by car & driver as the best luxury sedan
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this past december, police out searching for shannon gilbert in the area where she disappeared in long island stumble on not one, but four badly decomposed bodies. >> okay, good morning, everybody. >> reporter: police commissioner richard dormer delivers news that terrifies shannon gilbert's family. >> i don't think it's a coincidence that four bodies ended up in this area. we could have a serial killer. >> reporter: four of the victims were found in a burlap-like material. that indicates two things. one, that it's very likely that those four victims were killed by the same person -- a serial killer. had and the second thing it suggests is that the killer most likely killed his victims elsewhere and transported them here to be dumped. in january, police put names to the remains.
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shannon's family is relieved. she's not one of them. but they're still alarmed. all four victims are eerily similar to shannon in age, height and looks, and every single one advertised on craigslist as escorts. had police searched far enough? one of the bodies police identified was amber lynn costello. her sister, kim overstreet, is looking for answers. >> i was doing research, trying to backtrack and getting everything i could. and, you know, it got to the point where i was obsessed with it. >> reporter: overstreet says police have told her very little about the investigation, so like the gilbert family, she started doing her own digging. >> it's my baby sister, you know. it eats at me every day. it consumed me. >> reporter: kim herself used to work for an escort agency. she tried to teach her sister how to stay safe on the job. >> i worked for the service and the guy had to have a home phone listed in his name.
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if there was no home phone listed in his name you didn't go. >> reporter: but she said her sister was a drug addict which made her even more vulnerable. so where we going now? >> we're going to where amber was staying, where the last place she walked out of was, where she met the guy that picked her up. >> reporter: this is the house where amber was last seen. on the night that amber disappeared, kim was out of the state. are you okay? >> yeah. it's just hard. >> reporter: tell me what's going on. >> it's just this was the last place she was. you know, and i've been here so many times with her and i just can't believe the one time i'm not with her, it happens. that morning she had got a call from a guy who was willing to set up a call for late their night. he called her again maybe 10 or 5 after and said he was coming down the road for her to go ahead and walk out. she hung the phone up, gave the phone to the people that she was
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with and said if my sister calls, tell her i love her. she walked out the door, was never seen again. >> reporter: families and friends of the other victims tell similar stories. each apparently disappeared after meeting clients. melissa bartholomew's family may have even gotten a call from the killer. just days after she went missing, melissa's baby sister picked up the call because she thought it was her sister. >> at that point it was five days when the first call came in and, you know, caller i.d. and melissa, she answers, she's all excited and there's a guy on the other end. >> reporter: the family got six separate calls from someone using melissa's phone. police don't want the details out there, but melissa's mother lynn will say the caller was threatening and wouldn't answer the family's questions. >> we didn't know what he did to her, if she was still alive, he
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wouldn't say if he wanted money or -- >> reporter: on that final call, lynn says he confessed. >> he did confirm that he killed her. so that's why we were thinking that this guy obviously held these girls and tortured them. because why else would he have called for over a month unless he was just torturing us? >> reporter: the family attorney, steve cohen. >> that's how we know that we're dealing with a monster, a hannibal lecter, someone who's very bright and very calculating and very patient. >> reporter: in april, police find the remains of up to six more victims. they speculate about something truly horrifying. there may be more than one serial killer at work here. >> certainly the medical examiner is going to be looking
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at the possibility that shannon gilbert is one of the remains. >> there is no secret that we've been dumping bodies out here for decades. >> reporter: lou colombo is a retired officer from long island. he shows us how hard it is to search here. >> you can just take a look at it and know you literally cannot walk in from the roadway into this area. you know, and as a result, it lenzs itself to discarding a body, making it almost impossible to find. >> reporter: he says police have always known the area as a good place to get rid of a body, and he explains why this will be a tough case to crack. in all fairness to nassau county, the suffolk county police department, there aren't really any hard and fast clues here, right? >> nothing. there's no physical evidence of forensics unlike you'd find at a conventional crime scene, at an apartment or at a home.
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>> reporter: shannon gilbert was not among the remains police found. it's been over a year since she disappeared. as the families of the victims gather to remember their loved ones, none are any closer to knowing what happened. >> we're hopeful because she wasn't recovered so that does give us the hope that she still might be out there but at the same time, it's just -- we want that closure, we want to know. >> we are dealing with a psychotic murderer who is very bright, very deliberate, very calm, very well prepared, who will kill again. next on "cnn presents" -- >> was the bullying part of the reason you think, erica, that your best friend killed herself? >> most definitely. there's no question about it. >> what led this 13-year-old to the brink?
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>> we have no evidence that bullying or harassment took place in any of those cases. and later, what it takes to fight the multi-billion dollar illegal animal trade. a monkey refuge where the people live in cages and animals roam free.
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>> this is samantha's swimsuit and it's been hanging here, and i just can't put it away. >> a swimsuit hanging lifeless since november 2009 when michelle johnson's only daughter took her own life. >> to see your child lay there lifeless and not know why. >> reporter: what she would learn is that her 13-year-old's world had become unbearable. >> we believe that she was just hiding from everybody because she was feeling helpless. samantha was kind of a tomboy and she was perceived as gay. >> was she gay? >> no. we don't think she was gay. she was 13. >> reporter: samantha was the first of seven students to commit suicide in a single minnesota school district in less than two years. parents and friends tell us four of those teens were either gay,
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perceived to be gay, or questioning their sexuality, and at least two of them were bullied over it. we're about 30 minutes outside of minneapolis in anoka-hennepin. this is the biggest school district in the entire state, but the reason we're here is because it has become a battleground over homosexuality in the classroom. the district has a controversial curriculum policy that says staff must remain neutral on matters of sexual orientation. it's ignited a culture war, one that's playing out in school board meetings. >> the homosexual lifestyle is a social controversial issue that should be addressed in the home and not the schools. >> these children are human beings. we're allowing these kids to be treated as second class citizens. >> reporter: allegations of bullying have brought unwanted media attention, and cnn has learned a federal investigation
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to this quiet suburban community. >> a student threw me up against a wall, lockers, and screamed "fag" at me. >> reporter: mike thurston, an eighth grader at anoka middle school isn't gay, but he's the president of his school's day/straight alliance. >> a student, for whatever reason, came up to me during social studies said to me so how big was it in your mouth last night? >> reporter: the bullying made school a daily battle for kids like mike and samantha. erica hoops was samantha's best friend. >> yeah. she didn't feel safe anywhere. during volleyball they would call her names like fag and be like go over to the boy's locker room. you shouldn't be in here. >> did any adults see this? >> yeah, but they didn't ever do anything. i was in the locker room at one point when she was getting harassed, and the coach was looking at it first.
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but she didn't stop it anyway. >> reporter: samantha's mother, michelle, didn't learn about the bullying until she showed up one day at volleyball practice. >> and the coach said, can i help you? and i said, i'm samantha jones' mother. and where is she? she said, oh, i haven't seen samantha in weeks. and i thought, what? how can that be? she's taking the late bus home. so she said, well, i know that there's a couple of girls that are being very mean to her. >> so the coach knew she was being bullied. >> right. >> had she ever told you that before you came down to practice? >> no. >> did you see anyone bullying samantha? >> reporter: the district requires staff to report all bullying. we reached out to samantha's coach. >> there was issues everywhere in her life and her situation, and they were addressed to the
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best of the ability, and i just -- i don't have anything else to say. >> reporter: samantha never made it to another volleyball practice. just like justin auberg didn't make it to his 16th birthday. justin was gay. >> and this one girl told the whole school. >> reporter: his friend brandi says the bullying began shortly after justin was outed in the eighth grade. >> he told me somebody had like grabbed his balls and said, you like that" and vem his counselor noticed something was wrong and she ran up behind -- >> reporter: justin's mother, tammy auberg, says she was never contacted about the incident. and then just months before taking his life -- >> he came to me and said, mom, a kid at school said i was going to go to hell because i'm gay. >> can you say without a doubt that justin's suicide was connected to the bullying? >> yes, i believe it was connected. do i know what the last thing was that happened that made
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him make the final act? no, i don't know what it was. >> reporter: we will never know what drove samantha and justin to take their lives. but here's what we do know. in a school newsletter and in a voice mail to staff, superintendent dennis carlson denies any connection between bullying and the suicides. >> based on all of the information that we've been able to gather, son of the suicides were connected to incidents of bullying or harassment. >> reporter: a statement that angered family and friends. >> i just kept thinking, liar, liar, liar, because there's totally a connection. >> was the bullying part of the reason, you think, erica, that your best friend killed herself? >> most definitely, there's no question about it. >> did the school district talk to you after samantha committed suicide? >> i never once got talked to. >> what bothered me most is nobody asked us. >> we have dozens of people that
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are looking into each one of those suicides. they talked to as many people as they can surrounding that suicide. >> reporter: we asked superintendent carlson why no one talked to samantha's mother or her best friend. they feel like, dennis, an investigation or review wasn't done. >> we did not do a formal investigation. we would only do a formal investigation if there was some indication that there was need for that. >> why wouldn't there be a need for that when you have kids killing themselves? >> there needs to be some evidence that bullying, harassment, was a part of their life in that school. i cannot emphasize enough, kids need to come forward to the adults in the building and say "we're being bullied." if they do not, there isn't much we can do. >> i am a mother of samantha johnson, a student at your school. >> reporter: at the statement michelle e-mailed the superintendent saying she had talked to the volleyball coach, the vice principal and
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the counselor about samantha's bullying. carlson insists the district followed up with the school members but could not release the records citing privacy concerns. he says michelle now refuses to speak with them. >> if i can't trust the school when samantha was alive, i don't know why i can trust them now. >> reporter: when we come back, one teacher who wants to take on the district. >> are you afraid you could lose your job just being here talking about there? >> realistically, yeah. and my hands were full. i couldn't sort through it all. with unitedhealthcare, it's different. we have access to great specialists, and our pediatrician gets all the information. everyone works as a team. and i only need to talk to one person about her care. we're more than 78,000 people looking out for 70 million americans. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. setting that goal to become a principal.
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but, i have to support my family, so how do i go back to school? university of phoenix made it doable. a lot of my instructors were principals in my district. i wouldn't be where i am without that degree. my name is dr. carrie buck. i helped turn an at-risk school into an award winning school, and i am a phoenix. [ male announcer ] find your program at
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announcer: when life's this hard, it's no wonder 7,000 students drop out every school day. visit and help kids in your community stay in school.
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it's 9:00 on a typical school night. >> i just got a text from a young lady. >> reporter: an anoka middle schoolteacher is in crisis mode. >> it looks like she's got a friend who is in crisis and thinking about suicide. >> just now. >> just now. yeah. >> how often does this happen? >> it's about once a week. sometimes more. >> reporter: it turns out to be just one scare of many. >> this is where i had another kid hospitalized. last week i had another kid hospitalized. this kid was -- >> for what? >> for getting so overwhelmed that suicide seems the only way out. >> reporter: he's openly gay, and he's the advisor for his school's gay/straight alliance. he says suicidal feelings are common among gay youth and those questioning their sexuality.
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in fact, studies since the 1990s consistently show gay and lesbian youth have suicide attempt rates at least twice that of their heterosexual peers. this school district, anoka-hennepin, has been hard hit the question is, what role does school climate really play? this is the only minnesota school district we could find with a curriculum policy that bars teachers from taking a position on homosexuality and says such matters are best addressed outside of school. it's become known as the neutrality policy, and some teachers say it's part of the problem. >> because there's so much we can't do and say to help create a more accepting and affirming and welcoming environment that would eliminate some of that bullying in the first place. >> it's a censorship policy. it's censorship. there's nothing neutral about taking the side of the oppressor. >> it seems like you're saying this is contributing to leading
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these kids to the brink. >> it is contributing to creating a hostile, toxic environment. >> reporter: but superintendent dennis carlson says the district has a comprehensive bullying policy and has piloted a bullying tip line. he says the neutrality policy is a reasonable response to a divided community. >> it is a diverse community and what i try to do as superintendent is walk down the middle of the road. >> hey, if they're going to hell, i'm going with them. >> reporter: a middle of the road approach that's pitting parents against parents. >> sir. >> a policy -- >> you're out of line. >> you're out of line, too, sir. >> i mean this idea of check your identity at the door, would you tolerate that? >> we are not advocating that we teach homosexuality, that we teach anything other than tolerance. >> they don't need to be promoting a particular point of view on that. parents have a right to raise their children the way they want to, and the school district doesn't need to be sitting there telling kids your parents are wrong.
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>> and i know you're in support of the sexual orientation policy and i'm just hoping you'll tell me why. some local conservative parents have banded together forming the parents' action league. we tried multiple times to talk to them. would you mind taking a minute and just sitting down with me. >> no. no further comment. >> reporter: on their website they push for parents' rights and for schools to focus on core academics. in a recent letter to the local newspaper, one active community member wrote "it is irresponsible for educators to promote the it's okay to be gay message to students when homosexuality is such a high-risk behavior." now the fight has gone federal. cnn has confirmed that the departments of justice and education are investigating the district. after receiving a complaint regarding allegations of harassment and discrimination based on sex. >> this policy sends kids the message that who they are is not okay. >> reporter: an advocacy group,
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the southern poverty law center, and the national center for lesbian rights have filed a lawsuit challenging the neutrality policy. they were present for cnn interviews involving its clients. in response to the lawsuit, the district says they are confident that they are complying with the law and that the policies and practices and procedures in place ensure the safety of students. the district also says it takes "strong exception" to the outrageous media statements the district is not concerned about the safety of its students. and it has asked the advocacy groups to help train its staff in supporting gay students. but superintendent carlson stands by the neutrality policy. still, he knows there's a problem. >> we need students to speak up and say, "i am being bullied." we know that gay students in our district on a daily basis struggle with bullying and harassment. >> reporter: if you doubt that, just listen to these kids from
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anoka middle school's gay/straight alliance. many aren't gay. >> gays in the name of the club, it's like, oh, you're automatically that and we're -- not everyone who goes there is. >> reporter: but just being in the club can make them a target. raise your hand if you've been bullied in the last month. last week? what about today? how does hearing these words, you're gay, you're a fag, you're different, how does this make you feel? >> like kids say to you every day -- it gets a little bit deeper and deeper around deeper. it's like a wound that won't heal. >> why did you decide to join the gay/straight alliance? >> it is just a safe place to be where no one will judge you for who you are. >> reporter: the battle over the neutrality policy is the adult's fight. the kids just want to be safe and they don't want any more of their friends like samantha johnson to die.
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>> she was sick of everything. >> sick of what? >> the bullying. coming up, the hazards of preserving life in the wild. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] more people are leaving bmw, mercedes, and lexus for audi than ever before. ♪ experience the summer of audi event
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♪ sing polly wolly doodle all the day ♪ ♪ hah
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the illegal wildlife trade is a $10 billion a year business. wild animals torn from nature, killed for food, or captured live, confined, chained, sold as exotic pets. i wanted to know what happens when you rip an animal out of paradise and turn it into a play thing and what it takes to put things right. okay. what's going on here? so we headed out into the wild. to truly appreciate why wild
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animals belong in the wilderness, you have to go there. so we went to one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, the costa rican rain forest. we're flying down here to this remote area. this is known as the peninsula of the osa. we left the big city heading for the crown jewel of costa rica park system. ♪ >> reporter: so we're here in the center of porta jiminez. it's a small little gold mining town. it is also the gateway into a national park. in order to get in there you've got to hike for a couple days or you can do what we're doing and we're taking theary row taxi. this is the shortest landing strip. they literally clear cut the rain foefrment if we don't make it, we go into the ocean. not that this will do us any good we packed up all of our gear and our guide into a tiny single engine plane and held on tight. we're flying over it.
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it's one of the most biologically intense places on earth. that had to be the coolest landing. home to the largest and only primary lowland rain forest in the world, 140 different animal species, many endangered. professor eduardo coreo from the national university of costa rica is one hell of a guide. >> on ocelot came past this trail. >> reporter: in just 24 hours we saw more than most park visitors see in a week. rugged, remote, stunningly beautiful inside the forest and out. so this is the rio seranan river where it meets the ocean. during high tide, which is right
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now, bull sharks sometimes up to 12 feet long come through here and feed. there's also crocodiles swimming through the waters. just to cross this area would be risking your life. ♪ >> eduardo spotted a spider monkey right up in the tree. why do you shake the leafs? >> i challenge them and they'll come to fight with me. >> reporter: oh really. whoa. just took this and threw it out of the tree. he's a mean little guy. why would he throw a stick at us? >> he's not happy. >> we're standing right in the middle of a pack. these are the main food source for pumas,
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jaguars and all the cats in the forest. and people living nearby the forest come in and hunt these because they taste really good. so we're heading into the jungle now. obviously the sun's down and at night, a whole different slew of creatures comes out. we're just about 20 feet away from this giant puma. >> we can get a little bit closer if you want. >> can i get closer? >> we don't want to disturb him because he can get aggressive. >> it's incredible to be this close to such a magnificent animal in the wild. >> it's beautiful. she's in really good condition. >> she's getting up. what does that mean? >> nothing. >> is she coming towards us? >> no problem. okay. beautiful.
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he can just g even for me, it is not so often to see something like that. >> you've been doing this for 20 years. >> yeah. amazing experience. >> definitely an adrenaline rush. how does it make you feel when you see people that have animals that you find in the rain forest as pets? >> that is a big problem. it's really nice to have a baby monkey. but when they grow, they become wild. they have instincts. they can bite people. it's the same with all the animals. a wild animal is a wild animal always. you can see a beautiful sunset with the forest. what else do you ask? what else? ette beautiful. i feel that here. can you feel it? we are not alone in this life. we are not the only species. >> reporter: it's beautiful, and
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it is isolated. to wildlife traffickers, this beauty equals profit. but as we're about to see, help is just a boat ride away. i'm a certified jungle woman. woo! i'm a woman of the jungle, huh? she has a single mission -- rescue and return the animals to the wild whatever the cost. >> oh, yeah, she's got bite marks all over here. you've got the scars to prove what you do. >> these are the badges of courage i wear. >> and by the end of our journey, we had badges, too. what do you call these? monkey tattoos. >> this is a sanctuary tattoo. >> sanctuary tattoo. [ bell tolls ]
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as dawn breaks over costa ryka, a small town on the west coast, you can hear the eerie sound of a passing troupe of howler monkeys.iyka, coast, you can hear the eerie sound of a passing troupe of howler monkeycyka, a t coast, you can hear the eerie sound of a passing
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troupe of howler monkeyayka, a west coast, you can hear the eerie sound of a passing troupe of howler monkeyka, a smt coast, you can hear the eerie sound of a passing troupe of howler monkeya, a sma coast, you can hear the eerie sound of a passing troupe of howler monkey, a smal coast, you can hear the eerie sound of a passing troupe of howler monkeys. animal traffickers take anything from macaws to monkeys from the rain forests of central america, and sell them to the highest bidder at dozens of auctions held across the united states. they often become victims of abuse and neglect, caged, chained, tranquilized or sometimes beaten into submission. >> i'm a certified jungle woman. woo! >> reporter: those who are lucky enough to be rescued are given to carol cruz. you've got bite marks all over here. you've got the scars to prove what you do. >> these are the badges of courage that i wear. >> reporter: do visitors ever get trounced on by monkeys? >> on occasion if they don't do what i tell them to do. yes, they do. >> reporter: 15 years ago, she sold everything she had, packed her bags and left san francisco and moved to costa rica. >> got a cookie. cookie wookie. >> reporter: she runs the santaary silvestre. what makes her rescue center,
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unique, it's the only one i've ever seen where the people live in cages and animals roam free but freedom means the crew and i are at the mercy of the monkeys. meet sweetie. when she was just 4 days old, poachers shot her mother for her meat ripping sweetie off her dead mother's back, throwing her into the forest leaving her to die. and because of her past, sweetie is not so sweet. cruz says she especially dislikes men. >> she definitely rules. >> every time we enter the kitchen we have to run. ♪ >> humans live in cages. we're all caged in to eat lunch. the monkeys run free. ♪ >> this is where i do all of my work. home sweet home. >> reporter: all the monkeys
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sleep right next to mama. >> right. life is good in the cage. >> why did you decide on that philosophy for you and your volunteers to be living in cages and the animals to be roaming free? >> i think we are working with an incredibly intelligent species here, primates, and if you acclimate them to life in a cage, i don't think they're as apt to leave. they're not as courageous. they have to break that bond of what they've lived in for three to four years. the little one over here was confiscated from a hotel from tourists. it came to us half dead, so dehydrated. >> hey, little guy. hello. oh, he's kissing me. these guys are small but they're some of the loudest mammals in the forest on earth. when you hear them in the forest, it is so creepy. all kind of creigh creatures live here. most of all, carol's favorite, monkeys. these animals have to be caged because of their aggression. >> they are true victims of the
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pet trade. i will enter this cage only with the idea that i'm the sacrificial lamb. carol tells us that she can't go into the cage because she's the alpha monkey in the jungle and they'd try to knock her off. they're considered the third smartest land mammal on earth. we went into the cage so that makes us the fourth. >> these are very aggressive monkeys. they're constantly moving had around, which is one of the reasons they shouldn't be kept as around, which is one of the reasons they shouldn't be kept as petd around, which is one of the reasons they shouldn't be kept as petaround, which is one of t reasons they shouldn't be kept as pets. okay, what's going on here? >> i don't know. i'm getting out of here. >> the last guy that came through here had to get 13 stitches. they called it a sanctuary tattoo. remember sweetie? she's the spider monkey with a grudge against men. one day she'll leave the sanctuary and join a wild troupe, but today we get a
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firsthand look at how quick llya tame monkey can get dangerous. >> walk away. walk away. >> she doesn't hate men. producer steve was holding one of the spider monkeys and she got scared and bit him on the head so now he's got -- >> this is a sanctuary tattoo. >> sanctuary tattoo. does this show why people think they can keep these monkeys as pets? >> what happened -- >> why do you think it's called wildlife? i've been bitten by almost every species in the sanctuary and it just goes with the job. >> oh, look! she got a leaf. oh, what a good monkey. he's still a little sad. he hasn't quite gotten over the
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loss of his mother yet. >> are these like your adopted children? >> they are. and it is a bittersweet moment when they leave, but if you ever witness releasing an animal back to the wild, it is such a euphoric feeling that it gives you the energy and the strength through all those losses, through all that heartache to continue because it is such an incredibly good feeling. when lulu, our 3-year-old howl ler monkey gave birth, the baby was still wet, and she brought him down for me to feed. that just about took me to my knees. >> reporter: bittersweet is a good word to describe what carol cruz does. she hopes the animals that she cares for so much will leave her, but she knows because of the damage people do to animals, there will unfortunately always be more.

CNN Presents
CNN July 24, 2011 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

News/Business. (2011) Bullying within schools over sexual orientation; four dead prostitutes on Long island beach; a refuge for poached monkeys in Costa Rica. (CC)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Samantha 15, Shannon 12, Us 10, Shannon Gilbert 9, Long Island 5, Unitedhealthcare 4, Justin 4, Carol 3, Melissa 3, Michelle 3, Carlson 3, Minnesota 2, Foodsafety 2, Phoenix 2, Audi 2, At&t 2, Erica 2, Sweetie 2, Samantha Johnson 2, Dennis Carlson 2
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